We have to begin this post with an apology for the delay in announcing the recipient for the first Rear Curtain Fellowship Award. There are a few reasons for the delay, a couple of which we will share. Getting the three judges, Editor-in-Chief Raymond Ketcham, Focus for Humanity founder Marco Ryan and teacher and writer Jerod Foster together proved challenging and then once they did, one half of the RC team disappeared to Thailand for a month. A surprise opportunity presented itself while we were there and the obsession to make stories that matter consumed us. Now that we are home, we are getting back to business–the first order of which is to announce the winner of the RC Fellowship Award.
While we would have liked to have had more submissions, we understand that we have work to do to help photographers understand what stories are important. Too often we hide behind the false notion that we need to create “big” stories to change the world and we keep those that we think are insignificant from the world. Having spent time Northern Thailand in the Golden Triangle, we can testify that every person’s story matters. If we think that what we have to give to this world is so small it won’t be recognized or helpful in some way, shape or form, we are wrong. Stories do have the potential to make a difference and we have first-hand experience of that but that’s a post for another time.
Today we’d like to talk about the stories that were submitted for our consideration. Some of the work we received was more suited as a news piece and some were still in the early stages of development. What we were ultimately looking for was a story that was best suited to a book format because we believe strongly in the use of books for photography and visual storytelling. There were two submissions that were very close to this ideal and the panel finally decided on the one with the broadest appeal and that would work best as a book. Several of the stories while being incredibly powerful, would have worked much better as a documentary or on sites that favour hard reporting while others would shine more in the news format or as a short story online.
Following a lively discussion where several viewpoints were addressed, the panel came to a unanimous decision to award the fellowship to Brian Miller for his story “On the Bench“. Yet to be published online or in print, Brian’s story is about baseball. It has just the right twist to a story about something we have all felt one time or another–wanting to be in the game and never quite making it. The images were strong and show a consistency to book format.
Congratulations Brian! We look forward to seeing your work in print and are privileged to be a part of making that happen.
Thank you to all the other participants. Keep going with your stories. They need to be told and you can be the one that brings them to the world. If you would like more specific feedback on your story, please let us know.
Stay tuned for future announcements as we work to help photographers share their stories with a wider audience…